SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As the clock ticked down on the Hoosiers' season, Earl Calloway stood at half court waiting for the final buzzer. With each dribble he was one second closer to the end of the Mike Davis era at Indiana.
After six seasons as head coach of Indiana basketball, Mike Davis has coached his final game as the Hoosier leader.
Davis, who announced his resignation from Indiana in February, brought his Hoosiers from the verge of destruction to an NCAA berth by coaching his team to a 6-3 record after his announcement, including a first-round win in the NCAA tournament over San Diego State.
"My first thought was that I was proud of the boys," said Davis. "Like I told people at the press conference, don't be sad for me. You should be happy for me because I had a great opportunity to coach at one of the best schools ever for college basketball."
The Hoosiers suffered through a five-game losing streak in February and lost seven of eight games at one point. After Davis made the announcement his players seemed to rally around him and the Hoosiers played some of their best basketball down the stretch of the season – going from a team falling off the bubble to a six seed in the NCAA tournament.
"I'm proud of these guys," said Davis. "I thought they fought hard and have showed a lot of courage over the last month. They've been under a lot of pressure, but I thought they played as well as anyone in the country. I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys."
While at the helm of Indiana, Davis had a record of 115-79, including a 55-41 Big Ten record. During his tenure Davis had an amazing 39-9 record in conference games at Assembly Hall.
"It's definitely disappointing," said Marshall Strickland. "It's my last game as a Hoosier, but I can look back and say I had a lot of good experiences at IU also.
"I've been with Coach Davis for four years and I feel like he really helped me grow up. I came here young, fresh out of high school and he tested me. He brought a lot of great things out of me."
The close relationships Davis formed with his players make the separation even more difficult. After his announcement of his resignation, a few players even mentioned transferring to follow Davis to his next job –without even knowing where that may be.
"I can't explain it," said Davis. "We've been through a lot together. I think for any coach that won't be there next, any time they have a group of guys that they really love and appreciate, they feel some sadness for those guys. I feel more sadness for them than anyone because they fought hard and they really fought hard over the last month. I'm proud of them."
Robert Vaden seems to have formed the closest relationship with Davis after playing for him for just two seasons.
"My father passed away this summer," said Vaden. "He's like a father figure to me. I love him with all my heart and I'm sure he loves me as well. We just have to move on. That's all we can do."
Even without Davis, the Indiana program will have to move forward and Davis knows the key for that transformation will be the dedication of the players to rebuilding the glory of IU.
"I told them to keep their heads up," said Davis. "I won't be here so it's important that they go to class. It's important that they make a commitment to this program, for those ones coming back."
With this season over for Hoosiers, the Indiana athletic department will have to take the new coach search to another level while Davis will have to sit back and wait to see what his future may hold.
"I have no idea," said Davis. "I'll go back to Bloomington tonight and we'll see what happens. My future will take care of itself. I stepped down from this position with faith and I hope everything will work out for me."
Davis Says Goodbye
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